Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland bands battle for Arthur's Day spotlight

Guinness have named the six lucky bands selected for the Belfast regional showcase of the ‘Our Thursdays’ competition as part of this year's Arthur’s Day celebrations across Ireland.

The ‘Our Thursdays’ competition is on the look out for emerging talent all over Ireland to offer them an opportunity to be part of the main Arthur’s Day event on September 23.

The six bands are Bettylee &The Blonde (Limavady), Naoimh O'Hagan (Belfast), Picture the Sound (Ballymoney), Shouting at Planes (Cavan), Escape Fails (Belfast) and The Empire Saints (Bray).

Since July, hopeful bands have been performing in pubs every week all around the country at the Guinness ‘Our Thursdays’ pub showcases where the public decided, via text vote, who would go through each week.

The bands that received the most votes at the end of each pub showcase have been named as the official Arthur’s Day artist in that bar on 23rd September.

A team of music industry experts including members of Snow Patrol, have had the unenviable task of listening to all the pub showcase winners from around the country and have now whittled it down to the best 24.

The six will play at the Belfast regional showcase in The Empire, Belfast this Thursday. The event is open to the public and entry is free of charge.

From the regional showcases, four lucky bands will be selected to perform at the national showcase which will take place in Lavery's, Belfast on 9th September.

At the Lavery's showcase, the team of music industry experts will deliberate and decide on the three bands that will play in Galway, Cork and at St James’s Gate Brewery on Arthur’s Day alongside amazing international artists including Snow Patrol.


Bettylee & the Blonde

Leanne and Ashleen have been playing together for years. In Jan 2009 they formed Bettylee and the Blonde with Don Reilly on bass and more recently Jonathan Lynn joining on Drums. After four weeks and two gigs booked, both Victory and Not Lookin For Love reached No.2 on The Bettylee and the Blonde sound is pretty unusual and is influenced by far too many to mention. Bettylee and the Blonde made the final four bands of a competition trying to win a record contract and publishing deal with Belfast Label Audio Ill and made the live finals of the BT Sounds like Summer heats In 2009 and 2010.

Naoimh O'Hagan

Naoimh O’Hagan is a Northern Irish based singer songwriter. Naoimh finds serenity in simplicity; striking a fine balance between economical song-writing and melodic indulgence, she creates music that seductively weaves around you like a cool breeze, before permeating the very core of your heart.

The whimsical life-affirming spirit of her music invokes the sensation of carelessly floating down the calmest of rivers. She has garnered significant praise from various high-profile local contemporaries, such as Cat Malojian and Grammy-nominated Ciaran Gribbin, aka Joe Echo. Naoimh has her ego firmly planted on the ground, but her ambitions are floating somewhere amongst the clouds.

Shouting at Planes

'Shouting at Planes' is a group of young but established musicians, who've come together to define and develop an original sound that mirrors their considerably broad tastes. With influences from rock, blues, indie and jazz genres, this band has established a sound that peaks ears, turns heads, and never fails to draw a crowd.

Having two lead vocalists who share the opportunity to bellow spine-tingling lyrics and harmonies and with the luxury of saxophone and trumpet as accompaniments, a performance big and bold enough to resonate beyond the highest flying aircrafts is guaranteed.

Escape Fails

Escape Fails are a five-piece metal, rock and pop act from Belfast. They are currently unsigned but are active on the live circuit and have recently recorded a new song Annexed, which is available to download and listen on MySpace.

Empire Saints

Empire Saints were formed in 2008 by brothers Fiachra & Uisneagh Treacy. Shortly after, long-time friend Noel Healy, drummer & co-songwriter joined the Saints along with Pete Cheevers. Empire Saints have headlined gigs in some very prestigious venues even at this early stage in their career including the Sugar Club and Whelan’s in Dublin and The Hope and Anchor in London.

Empire Saints were also shortlisted in Hot Press’s “London Calling” competition with the top prize of playing in front of 20,000 people in Trafalgar Square at the St. Patrick’s Festival. The band was selected because of the video for “Float On”, which has been selected for the 2010 BORNSHORTS Film Festival in Denmark in August 2010.

Picture the Sound

Picture the Sound is five-piece live band from Ballymoney with a huge passion for music from all genres which they incorporate into their sound. The band is currently unsigned but active on the live circuit and has recorded four tracks: Lights in Space, Home, Cover It In Blue and James Dean which are all available to listen to on MySpace.

Belfast Telegraph


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